River Oaks is located in the center of Houston, Texas between Downtown and Uptown.
It’s less than two square miles of space located within the 610 Loop.
River Oaks was established in the 1920s and became well known because of its superior community planning.
It is currently the most expensive community in Texas and one of the top ten wealthiest and expensive communities in the United States. Properties range in price from one million dollars to over twenty million.
River Oaks Neighborhood Information
River Oaks is bounded by Buffalo Bayon on the north, South Shepherd Drive on the east, Willowick Road on the west, and Westheimer Road on the south.
It is located northeast of Uptown, north of the Upper Kirby district, west of Neartown, and close to main thoroughfares and freeway systems.
In the middle over River Oaks is River Oaks Boulevard, with mansions and estates lining the street.
River Oaks has approximately 1,600 homes, that are mostly single family residences.
It is part of the Afton Oaks & River Oaks Houston Super Neighborhood #23 with nearly 8,200 housing units.
Most of the people who live in River Oaks are successful professionals.
River Oaks Neighborhood History
The history of River Oaks goes back to 1849 when settler Mr. James Ventioner built the first log cabin in the area. Mr. Zack Castleberry followed shortly, brining along his family and together both families formed the Castleberry Community.
They were attracted to the natural farmland and oak trees that are still defining parts of the environment today.
In the 1920s, William and Michael Hogg and attorney Hugh Potter purchased land around the River Oaks County Club and established County Club Estates to sustain development in the area.
The Hogg brothers and their sister Ima Hogg oversaw the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, which is now owned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and showcases artwork, paintings, and furniture. Both brothers also promoted lot sales in 1928, which went for $2,200.
As development was carried on in River Oaks, the main focus was on creating a well-integrated community with high design standards and focus on natural landscape design.
These standards were highly publicized in the 1920s and 1930s by real estate media and design journals, making it an intriguing place to live.
Deed restrictions in this time period restricted home prices from exceeding $7,000, specified architectural styles such as the American Colonial or English Tudor styles that make up Kerby Drive.
In the 1920s, River Oaks became the most expensive neighborhood in Houston, and it was annexed by The City of Houston and 3,465 acres of land were added. After World War II it was a popular haven for the wealthy people of Houston.
Most of the housing in River Oaks was built in the 1940s, as well as the first playground.
It is still a place for the wealthy of Houston and one of the most expensive housing blocks in the United States.
River Oaks Neighborhood Profile
The River Oaks community is adjacent to the oldest shopping center in Houston, the River Oaks Shopping Center.
It was constructed in 1927 and was the location of the first automobile-oriented retail center in the United States and a model for future retail spaces nationwide.
Portions of the River Oaks Shopping Center have been redeveloped to add a bookstore and parking garage.
The last historic movie theater that still functions as originally designed is also in Houston, known as the River Oaks Theatre, operated by Landmark Theatres.
The River Oaks Chamber Orchestra resides in River Oaks and is formed by musicians from the United States and guest conductors from around the world. There’s also the River Oaks Country Club, designed by legendary architect Donald Ross who is known as being the most significant golf course designer in the history of golf. The country club opened in 1923 and hosts an annual River Oaks International Tennis Tournament, which is now known as the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships.
River Oaks was also home of the Houston Ballet headquarters, along with their own training facilities, and pre-professional school called the Ben Stevenson Academy until 2012. They have a top level pre-professional division with classes taught daily by instructors from the Houston Ballet Academy and the Houston Ballet company, which is now located in Downtown Houston.
There are many municipal parks in River Oaks. River Oaks Park and Community Center is operated by the City of Houston and has a off-road trail, tennis court, playground, and lighted sports ground. The playground is known for its Pumpkin Carriage, restored in 2003 to resemble Cinderella’s carriage. The River Oaks Community Center offers a great location for neighborhood children to participate in sports and craft classes.
The River Oaks Property Owners, Inc in an agreement with the City of Houston has the right to spend its own funds to improve and maintain the parks and esplanades within River Oaks. Sleepy Hollow Park, Pine Valley Park, Olympia Park, Rebecca Meyer Park, and Homewood Park are just a few of the municipal parks that are maintained and assisted by the ROPO.
River Oaks is served by the Looscan Branch of the Houston Public Library. The building was completed in 2007 and cost $6.2 million dollars to build. It is a 21,000 square feet LEED certified library with over 60,000 books. The Looscan library offers a 120-seat multipurpose meeting room and a 14-seat conference room. There are reading areas for children, one for teenagers, as well as a periodical reading area. The exterior design of the library matches with other buildings in the area such as the River Oaks Baptist Church and School.
There is a monthly magazine for the neighborhood that is sent to residents free of charge called The River Oaks Buzz. It includes articles on people, places, and events occurring within the River Oaks community. There is also the River Oaks Examiner and Village News, which are local newspapers distributed in the area, as well as a special Bellaire, West U, River Oaks, and Meyerland section of The Houston Chronicle that is sent to community members.
The Houston Fire Department and Houston Police Department’s Central Patrol Division watches over River Oaks, which has one of the lowest crime rates in the Houston area. There is also a private security force, the River Oaks Patrol, which is privately owned and provides guard, alarm, and investigation services for community residents.
River Oaks is one of the leading Republican neighborhoods and contributes to politicians and political parties every election. It is a desirable place to fundraise for campaigns because of it’s allure, location, preening, and Secret Service familiarity. The notable residents include investors, philanthropists, art collectors, entrepreneurs, and professional businessmen.
Community In River Oaks
River Oaks is an ideal location for special events, weddings, and celebrations.
The River Oaks Country Club is the main center for special events such as luncheons, award dinners, and sporting tournaments. There are also seasonal events that occur within River Oaks including:
The Springtime Craft Fair
A July 4th Celebration
The River Oaks School District Homecoming Bonfire
The Halloween Haunted House and Fall Festival & Craft Fair
& The Christmas Parade & Craft Fair
Schools In River Oaks
The public schools in River Oaks are operated by the Houston Independent School District.
There are also many private schools that serve the community, where most children that live in River Oaks are sent to.
Elementary Schools In River Oaks
River Oaks Elementary School
Poe Elementary School
Crockett Early Childhood Center
St. Anne Catholic School (Private, K – 8)
St. John’s School (Private, K – 12)
Annunciation Orthodox School (Private, K – 8)
River Oaks Baptist School (Private, K – 8)
Middle Schools In River Oaks
Lanier Middle School
High Schools In River Oaks
Lamar High School
St. Thomas High School (Private, 9-12, Male only)
Episcopal High School (Private, 9 – 12)
The Houston Community College System also covers River Oaks, with the closest campus being the Central Campus in Midtown and the West Loop Center.
St. Thomas in Montrose and Rice University in the Houston Museum District are also within close proximity to River Oaks.
River Oaks Real Estate
River Oaks is an exclusive neighborhood filled with mansions and large estates and Houston’s most expensive area.
Some of the country’s best designers including John Staub, Howard Barnstone, and Hiram Salisbury have built many of the properties in the area.
River Oaks usually still shows strength, even in times of turmoil with the rest of the United States property market.
There is a trend in the River Oaks area to restore older homes, keeping the traditional styles that were historically built in the area while establishing a cozy interior environment.
Sales prices have a median of $1.55M, which increases a little bit each year. Even though there are many new constructions of townhomes and condominiums, the primary focus in this area is on single-family homes.
Most single-family properties in River Oaks have 4 or more bedrooms and bathrooms and the average price for a single family home is nearly $1,000,000.
Townhomes start just under $1,000,000 and offer the luxury of the area with a lower price point. Most of the townhomes are in gated communities and offer amenities and a luxurious environment.
The condos available in River Oaks are located within a comfortable distance to major attractions in the city.
They also have luxury finishings and amenities. Condo buildings usually offer swimming pools, security, concierge services, and fitness centers. Most condo apartments offer high ceilings, sweeping views of the city, state of the art appliances, and spacious units.
Prices range from $200,000 to $5 million depending on the size and amenities that are included.